Runner the therapy dog helps kids read at Kasson Library
For two years the Kasson Library had a therapy dog that would visit the library every week to give children an even more positive experience during their story time.
After the dog and his owner left to move to Wisconsin, the library knew that it would be important to replace him.
With perfect timing they were able to find a newly certified therapy dog in Bryon to fill the void.
“It was perfect timing,” said Bryten Hanson, the owner of Runner, who serves as the Kasson Library’s therapy dog once a week.
Runner became a certified dog after many people told his owner that he would perfect for the role of cheering people up, and after a few years Hanson and her husband decided to take a chance and went through the certification process.
After getting in touch with someone from Kasson, Don Vaughn, who is on the board of Alliance of Therapy Dogs, they were able to get started with the process.
The process, which took a couple of months, includes practice sessions two of which need to be in a medical setting with one being anywhere else.
Runner spent his last session at the library, and the library staff knew that Runner would be an ideal replacement.
Since Runner became the library’s therapy dog once a week, the staff there has been thrilled.
One of the reasons why the library is so pleased to have him during story time is because of the many benefits that come along with having a dog in the presence of young readers.
“Runner is a registered therapy dog who loves to hear kids read. Reading together with a therapy dog can strengthen reading skills, instill the joy of reading and promote lots of fun along the way,” the event flyer stated.
Hanson also explained that they have been very happy with the experiences they have had with Runner as a therapy dog not just at the library but also at the different places that he is a therapy dog for.
“We love meeting new people and seeing how happy people get when they get to pet him if they are having a bad day or in a bad mood and make their day,” she said.
“I think he made my children’s day,” one parent in attendance said after the story time.
Even when Runner isn’t working as a therapy dog at the library, he has gotten attention at various times including celebrating his birthday twice at the library.
While Runner isn’t using his services at the library, he is also a therapy dog for Rochester Airport, and they are also in the process of becoming apart of the Mayo Clinic Therapy Dog Program in Rochester.
At the airport Runner greets different passengers as they make their way around the airport. Hanson said that this is especially rewarding because many of the people that fly in and out of the Rochester Airport are there to receive different medical services at Mayo, which adds even more stress than flying normally does.
“Flying is already very stressful so being able to help the different passengers at the airport who are under even more stress is especially rewarding.”
Even though Runner has been a huge asset for the community, he was actually originally supposed to be a show dog, but his owners realized that he had a skill set more for being a therapy dog than as a show dog.
Despite making the shift, Runner in the end found his calling.
Runner will be at the Kasson Library every Monday at 6 p.m. during “Reading Time with Runner.”